THE SPINACH ARTICHOKE DIP
I did a test run of this dip recipe last weekend, but I used fat free cream cheese, no paprika because I don’t really care for the taste, and I hand-grated the Monterey Jack cheese because it was cheaper to buy the block. I thought I allowed the cream cheese to soften for an appropriate amount of time, but when I blended the cream cheese, sour cream and mayonnaise together, I still got a couple of cream cheese lumps.
But, I was more worried about the overall taste because, if you’re picky like I am, you definitely can taste a difference between fat-free and fat-full anything. If the fat-free “taste” is still present, you don’t want to eat whatever you’ve made, and you’re left hungry and irritated because you bought all this stuff (trying to be healthy) for something you ended up not eating or enjoying. However, the dip last weekend turned out great and cheesey with no “fat free” taste, so now I’m taking one more baby step by using low-fat cream cheese AND low-fat sour cream. But, I’m sticking with regular Helmann’s. That’s a deal breaker.
Making the dip today was pretty much the same, except I bought organic shredded Monterrey Jack which cut down on the prep time. I still got a couple of lumps in the low-fat cream cheese, but they pretty much disappeared when everything was mixed together. This dip is pretty impressive if you make it right as people are coming over to watch the game because the smell while it’s baking is awesome. When I pulled it out of the oven, the cheeses on top were bubbling and gooey! And, the ultimate result tastes so good. I can’t even tell that there’s low-fat cream cheese and low-fat sour cream. I’m skittish to use fat-free versions of both, but I know I’ll probably try it at some point. Maybe with fat-free versions of the shredded cheeses as well? Though, that might be too much “fat-free”.
Oh, I really wanted to take a picture of me pulling a tortilla chip out of the cheesy spinach-artichoke dip, but the battery in my digital camera has died, and I think I left the charger at work since I cannot find it anywhere in my apartment. So, to get a visual, you may just have to make this amazing dip yourself!
And, a thank you goes out to my co-worker, Tasha, (all names have been changed for privacy concerns) who suggested I make “something cheesey”. Very helpful, Tasha.
THE PEACH SCONES
The peach scones ended up not happening. Well, for today anyway. I mean, I had every intention of baking them sometime this weekend, and even walked in a light drizzle to the Division Street Farmers’ Market yesterday to buy local-grown peaches! To be on the safe side, I compared the farmers’ peaches with the corner grocery store. The store was selling a pound of peaches for $1.99, but a pound turned out to be roughly 2 peaches! The farmers were selling a container of 5-6 peaches for $4, and their peaches were much larger than the ones in the store. So, I purchased a $4 bag and walked back home. Funny, my sister was on a Michigan Avenue bus and saw me walking back in the drizzle. Her exact text was, “I think I just saw you walking on Michigan with a bag of apples.”
Anyway, I got home and cut open one of the smaller peaches, and the peach was rather tough. I guess that’s what happens when I purchase produce at the end, rather than during the peak, of their growing season. So, I’m not sure if I let the peaches sit for another day or so (tops!) if they’ll ripen more, like bananas. I’d rather they be a little bit softer because my experience with scones proved more positive with ripened soft fruit. Though, I’m not sure if it was because I was using berries (strawberries) over stone fruit. Maybe it’s me, but I noticed a difference in taste and texture of the strawberry scones when I made them with fruit in the middle of the season and then again near the end. I definitely preferred the ones I made in the middle of the season. I’ll take another shot at it, maybe Monday evening. If they’re still not soft, then I’ll probably bake them in a cobbler. Or, if I get too irritated because I can’t avoid the VMAs, which I find pointless because I didn’t think MTv showed videos anymore, I’ll give the peach scones a shot tonight. Then again, the season finale of True Blood is on tonight…